Sunday, January 31, 2010


First, I wanted to clarify what "lol" means for those who might be wondering. "Laugh(ing) Out Loud"

Secondly, do you or your loved ones struggle with upcoming birthdays?  I never have and just cannot understand why birthdays are SO hard for my honey.  This year, he was down in the dumps for almost the week prior.  What gives with that?  He has always been like this and when he turned 30, oh my, it was not pretty!  Any tips (for him or me?  lol)

Even with my physical issues, I wouldn't trade my 40's for any of my 20's or 30's.  I just imagine my life getting better and better and better!  Shoot, when I wake up and dirt is not over me, I figure it's a great day.  Probably because of what I've been through in the last few years, but every year is a gift, a precious gift.  I don't want to spend a minute being sad about that.

And a quirk of mine - I prefer even numbers, and feel more content when I am 42 instead of 43, let's say.  And then if we have 44, which is coming up in June - all the better!  A double even number.  Woo Hoo!!  And I've actually met a few other people with this quirk.  I've always been this way.  With my birthday on the 13th, and I barely missed turning 13 on Friday the 13th by one year!  Close call - I was turned 14 on Friday the 13th.  lol  My brth month is an even number, and I tried to have the boys in even months, but only succeeded with one.  With Ryan, his month, day and year are all uneven numbers.  Boy, he did not cooperate!  I tried SO hard to have him on the 10th!  lol

And regarding color - does color affect you?  Have you noticed being happier or more productive in a room of one color versus another?  Years ago, my home office was painted navy (from the previous owners) and I just didn't like it.  We had a lot of other color in the house, so I decided to paint it a taupe shade.  Boy was I miserable!  It was as if my brain just turned off when in that room!  Took me a while to figure out that the taupe was just uninspiring to me, and being a real estate agent, plus a home stager and decorator at the time, I relied on my creativity and ability to be spontaneous.  I needed a color that would inspire me, and when I painted the room Carob Chip from Pittsburgh Paints, I was in HEAVEN.  This color is a deep shade of plum, with a chocolate brown undertone.  So many plums and purples are just TOO purple, you know?  This shade was just amazing and the pictures don't do it justice.  Along with my favorite desk of all time and all the light in the room, it was just bliss.  My favorite room of my entire life, honestly. Here are the photos - what do you think?

And I can tell you from personal experience that color DOES affect pain.  So if you suffer, please surround yourself with your favorite color, whether painting a wall, getting a rug or pillow, or just some fabric you love.  It will brighten your day!

Navy, already painted when we purchased the home:

Tried this tan to neutralize (matched carper in adjacent room):

Bliss!  Carob Chip from Pittsburgh Paint - you had to experience this room in person to get the full effect! 

BTW, we lived in this house just over 2 years, so that's a lot of painting.  lol  We did neutralize most of the house prior to selling, as any good stager would recommend (lol), but I could not part with this room color.  Also, changed this room over to a dining room (staged) for selling purposes.  Here is that photo (showing the new carpet also):

I am really hoping and praying that Heaven is filled with color.  If it ends up being blah beige, I will be so sad.  lol  When owning homes, you have freedom to paint and express yourself.  When we decided to rent in our new town, I was resigning myself to a beige life.  But wouldn't you know the perfect house for us was filled with color??  I dreamed it and it became a reality, and we are so happy here.  To see photos of my crazy colorful life in houses, click HERE.  I participated in a blog carnival for weeks showing photos of many of the houses we have lived in.  And after having rented for 2+ years, I cannot wait to own again and put my personal color back in my life!

Have a great day!


Birthday Photos

To celebrate hubby's birthday, we went to dinner with Holt, Ryan and Megan.  I did take some photos of the 3 guys, but they were blurry.  Darn!  Will have to do that again, but it's hard to get Holt to cooperate.  lol  We may also need to get a new camera or get someone else to hold the camera and keep it steady.  Ha! 

Can you believe these 2 youngsters have been married 23 years in March?  lol

Ryan and the lovely Megan!

We took other photos, but they didn't turn out.  Wish we had taken a few more to make sure.  The boys tend to roll their eyes when I whip my camera out and Holt said he rues the day I got a blog and Facebook.  lol  Boys!!  Some day, they will be glad I chronicled their lives online.  I may even create a book from the blog one of these days.  How fun is that?

Oops, almost forgot.  Andy requested Coke Salad instead of a cake, and he wanted his very own, so we made 2!  lol  We put just a few crushed pecans in his, but lots more pecans in the other one for the boys and I.  Yummy!  Have you ever had coke salad?  Here is our recipe:

2 small pkgs. cherry Jello
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 can dark, sweet, pitted cherries
6 oz. Coca Cola
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Drain the liquid of the pineapple and the cherries in a sauce pan.  When hot, add the cherry jello and remove from the heat.  Dissolve jello.  Add in the pineapple, cherries and Coca Cola.  Pour in an 8X13 pan.  Put in refgierator to set up for just a bit.  Then add the pecans and cream cheese, cut up into tiny bits.  Some people use less cream cheese, but for us - the more the merrier!

I'm wondering what this photo looks like to someone who has never had this?  lol  This has an interesting sweet/sour flavor and you must try it!  We usually have this only at holidays, but he enjoyed it so much at Christmas, he requested it again already.   I had never had this until I married him, and now it is holiday staple!

Love you honey (and the boys and I will stay away from YOUR coke salad)! 


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Honey

For My Husband,

I often think of when we first met and how far we've come, everything we've been through and what we have overcome together on this journey called "love".  Love truly is waking up to each other and falling asleep in your arms every night.  Your warm and loving arms that make me feel so protected and safe.   Sharing all of life - the good parts and the hard parts, even when it seems those hard parts just keep coming - YOU are always there, my rock.  You might not always know what to say, but you are always there, steady and sure.  So, on your birthday, I'm thanking God again for the love He's given us and looking forward to the future we will share.

You mean the world to me.......and there's nothing better than snuggling in your arms every night.  You are a treasure to me.

All my love,


Friday, January 29, 2010

Ryan and Megan

Ryan brought Megan over for dinner tonight, even though we are in the middle of a bit of an ice storm.  What a delightful girl - we were very impressed.  Ryan has very good taste!  The biggest shocker of the night was Sweety LOVED her!  For those who know Sweety (the Pekingese), you know that very few females have EVER gotten approved.  And certainly not the first day!  Sweety was so happy we were able to remove her bark collar.

Megan is

In Pre-Pharmacy with Ryan
Met in a shared class
Has a Weimaraner puppy (who is already 60 lbs)
Works 3 days a week in a pharmacy in her hometown, about 30 minutes from here
Is a night owl, like Ryan

Very sweet, beautiful smile, felt like we've known her forever.  A great evening!

These two have been inseparable since mid-week and are having a blast together.  Quite the happy, handsome couple!  Don't you agree?

Have a great day!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ryan's a happy guy tonight

To update, he finished the first semester of college with straight A's!!  Very proud of him!  The NWCC Golf Team is getting ready for their first tournament coming up February 8th, down near Hattiesburg, MS.  Ryan is very excited and looking forward to it.  Just hoping it isn't too cold.  He's been told he's #1 on the team for this meet.

Recent Photo after he went golfing.

The 2nd semester is up and running and Ryan met a really sweet girl in his Philosophy class.  He really liked her, but didn't know if it was mutual.  She was sick for a week, and he was hoping she had not dropped the class.  But she was back this week, and Ryan asked her to lunch today and she gladly accepted.  They hit it off, and got back together tonight for another meal and a movie.  Megan is 19 and is also a pre-pharmacy major.

Ryan just got back from their evening and he is glowing.........just can't believe how great everything seems to be.  Their interests, their personalities, what they like in others......all seem to be a perfect match.  I'll try to get a photo up here of the two of them soon.  She is coming by here on Friday, he thinks.  Can't wait to meet her - she sounds like a very neat girl.  Ryan describes her as gorgeous, with beautiful long brown hair, long legs (about 5'7) and gorgeous smile.  Says her personality is definitely bubbly and easy to talk to.  She has been working in a pharmacy in her hometown for 4 years now, and still works 3 days a week.

I'll keep you posted!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Green Smoothie Goodness

Today's concoction is so yummy, I just had to share!  Don't let this lovely color detract you.  You can always put more fruit in your smoothies in the beginning to transition your taste buds.  But the more greens, the better.

1/2 cucumber, peeled
2 Roma tomatoes
6 cups spring green lettuce mix (organic, from Sams)
1 cup water
1/2 cup grapes
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
2 bananas
1 stalk celery, including leaves
1 Tbl. local honey

I put the 6 cups greens with the water in the BlendTec and pushed the Whole Juice button.  I have found this works so much better than mixing all ingredients together.

This photo was taken in August and we now have over 300 uses.  (The screen keeps track of how many uses.)

When this was done, I put in the rest of the ingredients and pushed the Smoothie button.  In a minute or so, I had this very green but YUMMY drink.  I drink 2 glasses of this at a time, and the above amounts created 4 -5 glasses worth of goodness.  This gives me 2 days worth.

I woke up today feeling puny and spent the majority of the day in bed.  I did manage to get a shower and cleaned up before hubs came home from work. lol  So for dinner (and basically the entire day's nutrition), I drank 2 glasses of this smoothie, and had a piece of mango banana pie.  Pure raw, pure nutrition.

Give it a try - you won't believe how awesome you feel!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Bliss!! Mango Banana Pie

First, I have to admit - I have never eaten a mango in my life.  Had no idea what it even tasted like.  Still can't really describe it - just a really mild fruit.   Anyhoo........Oh MY!!  If you want to put a bite of pure bliss in your mouth, make this pie today!

In the past month, we have been trying to eat much healthier, along with our daily Green Smoothies, I had read about Alissa Cohen and the great reviews on her book, Living on Raw Food.  You can only order it online and the cost is $29.99.  That really wasn't in our budget and I was thrilled when I found a copy at a second hand bookstore in Dallas (had a bonanza experience during the holidays!)  Not only was it half price, but there was an additional 20% off sale.  Woo hoo!

I had read online that one of the pies was amazing, and I had to try it.  So hubs and I got all the ingredients together and made it last night.  We just had our first pieces tonight with dinner and it was pure bliss.  We opted to freeze the pie, and it tasted like a popsicle in our mouths - so yummy.

Mango Banana Pie
From Living on Raw Foods, Alissa Cohen


2 cups almonds
1/2 cup dates, soaked  (I soaked overnight)


4 mangoes
6 bananas

For crust:

1.  In a food processor, grind almonds until fine.
2,  Add the dates and blend until smooth.
3.  Remove from food processor and pat down in pie plate.

For Filling:

1.  Peel the meat off of 4 mangoes and place in food processor with 4 of the bananas.  Blend well until smooth.
2.  Slice the 2 remaining bananas and place in bowl.
3.  Add the mango-banana mixture and mix well.
4.  Pour filling into crust and refrigerate for a few hours until mixture solidifies.  You can also freeze this for a frozen mango pie.

I didn't have enough almonds, so used 1 cup almonds, 1 cup pecans.  We chose to freeze our pie and it was heavenly. 

This is totally healthy, raw and full of nutrition.  Just mangoes, bananas, nuts and dates.  How simple is that?  This could be eaten for a meal rather than just dessert - totally healthy.

For more information on Alissa Cohen, visit HERE.   She also has a great forum to read and ask questions.  It is HERE.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another reason to drink GREEN SMOOTHIES in the morning! This woman just won "Sexiest Vegetarian over 50" and she is 71 years old!!! Born in 1938!!! Wow! Even more motivation to continue drinking my green smoothies EVERY morning!!


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Facing Fear - Hiding Behind Masks

Masks - I'm sure we all have them.  Do you know what yours is?  You know, the "you" that you want the world to see.  I call it my "actress skills".   In my "old" life, I strove to be perfect.  From childhood, never ceasing.   Never relaxing.......always busy.....always striving...........but what was I really doing?  Hiding from my fear.  Hiding from my fear of failure.......but why?  Of course, we all have ties to our childhood, how we were raised, how we perceived the approval of our parents, etc.  (And YES, I am a firstborn!)  By my mid-30's, I started to relax and referred to myself as a "recovering over-achieving perfectionist". lol   It was shortly thereafter that life as I knew it came to a screeching halt.

What does God do with really stubborn folks?  Sometimes He has to bop them over the head with a truth so overwhelming, they have no choice but to See it.  Feel it.  Live it.

Yep, that's me.  The stubborn one.  The "old" Cheri seemed to rush through life, always something to do, somewhere to go, something to say.  Rarely relaxed, rarely sat still.  Certainly rarely relaxed.  Go Go Go!!!

And now? At age 43 after my surgeries and other issues, I have nothing BUT time to reflect, relax, ponder.   Total opposite.  And if all this free-time came pain free, it would be bliss.  Some days I'm fine, but others are just too awful to endure and endure I must.

 I feel like a human radar antenna.  If someone else is crying, in real life or on TV, then I'm crying, let alone the times I cry for me.  And crying is fine IF I kept it under control and only cried when I thought it was ok, which is basically only in private and when alone.  lol

Slowly but surely, I started crying more and more, as my body and mind just couldn't do it anymore. I was losing the ability to control it.  I was crying when I didn't want to!  Ack!!   There is just so much one can take, you know?  Granted, some other hugely stressful things were happening in our life at the time, but I was so exhausted from "pretending".  After seeking a referral from our insurance EAP (employee assistance program), I heard what I didn't want to hear. 

The lady on the phone asked many questions, spent quite a bit of time chatting with me and then advised me to see a Trauma Therapist.  HUH?  Trauma???  That shocked me.  She said, "Honey, having your regular life and dreams for the future taken away from you at the age of 39 IS traumatic and it's time to stop pretending you aren't devastated.".  Wow.  Did she have a window into my soul or what?

I've always prided myself on my acting skills.  ALWAYS have a huge smile on my face, sparkle in my eyes.  And darn it, I hate it when folks see through that.  Urg!  I'm happy, I'm fine, really really I am!!!

Well, it isn't the truth.  And it's time to admit it.


From THIS website:

It is fear which creates the mask, and fear which keeps it in place. The mask is hiding our true and most beautiful self from both ourselves and from the world. In its place is a mask of un-beauty.
In order to find our authentic self we must align ourselves with facing fear by digging down to the deepest, most hidden part of ourselves, that fearful place where we dread what we think is hidden. 

When we dig deeply enough into our hidden nature we find not darkness but light – and the realization that our safety lies in actually letting down the mask and being seen –
in being our true authentic self. 


I met the most wonderful therapist and truly believe God sent her to me.  I can be ME when I'm with her.  I can cry, I can be real, I can tell the truth because I'm not hurting anyone else, I'm not burdening anyone else, I'm not making anyone feel helpless.  (Because, honestly, what can anyone do to help me?  Having to watch my pain from a distance every day has to be hard enough.)

Do you know what she said to me last week?  She pointed out that I laugh and smile EVERY time I am asked about my pain.  EVERY TIME.   My assignment is to STOP laughing, STOP smiling and BE real.  Hmmmmm.  Not so easy.  

I am not depressed.  She and other docs agree.  Remove the pain and I would be fine.  Pain is depressing, living with pain is debilitating.  It is normal to be sad and mourn what "was".  But I must also accept what "is".

She believes that as I discover why and when this pain started, I will start feeling some relief.  This bottling up of all emotions is not good.  Has never been good and won't be good next week. It has to stop.  I mean, there is a time and place, don't get me wrong, but I need to feel safe in my own house, in my own body, to be real.   Not being real is robbing me of deserved peace in my life.  It's OK to admit how tough this is.  I am learning there is a difference between a chronic whiner and someone who is just honest.  Hmmmm, interesting concept.

So my mask is coming down, slowly but surely.  I'm definitely uncomfortable, but uncomfortable is good.  It means I'm making progress.  And I see peace ahead, I see good days in the future.  I believe in myself.  I am strong.  I have nothing to fear.  Therefore, I can be me.  The real me. 


Resolutions for 2010

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

Kelly at Kelly's Korner has a Show Us Your Life - 2010 Resolutions party going on!

Do you take your health for granted?  I know I did.  It would never happen to me, right?  And if something ever did happen, I believed I could get treated and get better.   And then I took an unplanned trip to the world of Intractable Pain, a world I had only barely heard of, but had no idea what that even meant, or what daily life was like for folks who suffer the kind of pain most people will never even feel for one minute.  But for others, they live it 24 hours a day.  And I was inducted quickly and unwittingly into this special group.

I admit I haven't worried about any resolutions since 2005, when my pain crisis hit.  Each year has just been putting one foot in front of the other, just trying to survive.  Quite honestly, worrying about my "regular" or "traditional" girl things just isn't at the top of my list.  Surviving IS.

But now, with one year behind me with my SCS - Spinal Cord Stimulator - I DO have reason to expect I can get more of my life back, or at least much more than anyone thought possible.  My back is finally stable (after the last of 3 surgeries within 12 months between 2005 and 2006) and the nerve damage.....while absolutely horrid......IS in a holding pattern.  The SCS is a Godsend because it sends electrical signals in my spinal column and blocks/thwarts the pain signals from reaching my brain.  I personally walk around feeling like I have a massage chair on the inside, with my hips to toes tingling just like those massage chairs.  Amazing!  The photo below is an example what I have implanted in my back.  That pulse generator is in my upper right buttock/hip and I use a remote control to turn myself on or off, up or down.  When the pain is really bad, like today, I have my self turned REALLY really high to where I can almost not feel my feet.  But I have a choice to make - turn it up so I can do things today (and be super careful about walking) or just get in my chair and recline all day long.  So I choose to turn that puppy up! resolutions for 2010 are to:
1.)  Be More Authentic - Who I am, truly?  I vow to take down the actress mask and be honest about how I am doing.  I will continue to work on accepting my situation while continuing to hope for a cure, for a new device or procedure........something to stop this daily torment.  Only when I can share the TRUTH about who and how I am, will I truly begin to heal, either physically, emotionally or spiritually.

2.) Drink at least 16 oz. of Green Smoothie at least 6 days a week.  Currently I am drinking it every single day, sometimes as much as 32 oz.  I really recommend others adopt this - great nutrition!!  Here are some posts from last year - I've been enjoying the Green Smoothies since June, 2009. 

3.)  Read at least 1 book a week.  I'm currently averaging 2 books a week, and I LOVE to read.  I rediscovered my love of half-price books while down in Dallas, and I bet I purchased 18 or so books while we were gone?  Sounds crazy, I know, but I've already read 3 of them!  My favorite books involve health, marriage and family, enhancing our intuition, and embracing what we truly desire and watching it manifest.

4.)  Continue to explore meditation and incorporate it into my life.  I have run across so many inspiring stories and websites and I KNOW this will help me manifest less pain on a daily basis.

and finally....

5.)  Stay on this amazing journey with Andy, my love, and seek each day to bless his life, in whatever small or big ways I find.  Having a strong, deeply committed marriage brings such joy into my life, and is a blessing to our children.  I heard a story on the radio the other day about a family reunion in which members got up to dance to a song  "We Are Family".  Looking around, however, it was noticed that only one family out of many were actually dancing.  The caller then realized that her family was the only one in which the original parents were still married.  One cousin walked up to her cousin and said, "You know, you are lucky that your parents loved YOU enough to stay together".  That really impacted me and hasn't left my mind.  I vow to continue giving this gift to my children.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2010!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Dallas Cowboy Stadium

While in Dallas on our long holiday trip, we found out the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium offered tours during the day and we jumped at the chance, since not only affording tickets to a game plus traveling at just the right time just isn't in the cards any time soon.  lol  My sister and her boys also met us there.  We all had a blast - here are some photos:

Getting ready for the Cotton Bowl.

That's one heck of a TV screen!  The guide said that originally the screen was immobile.  But U2 came to have a concert and wanted it higher.  No problem, Jerry Jones said for a quarter of million bucks, he would make the screen movable.  And it's done!  Now it can be raised higher or lower.  Ha!

They were busy pounding rubber particles into the field, which adds up to an inch of cushion.  That's why we weren't allowed on the field that day and why you see black on the field and on the side lines.

Cotton Bowl Trophy.

Famous plays from the past on the glass.

How to way "WIN" in many ways.

You can see more of the black rubber particles from this view.

Probably the guys' favorite stop on the tour.  lol

Ryan, Trey and Wyatt with ridiculous grins.  So happy!

Wyatt down in one of the party rooms with an entrance to the field.

Fun day!  Tour was about an hour and a half, and tickets were $17, I believe. 


We were gone 18 days!!

That's a long time!!  Wowza!  We left on Wednesday, December 16th and drove to OKC to go with Granny to a doctor's appointment.  Then down to Dallas from there.......and we didn't come home until Saturday, January 2nd!!  We took both dogs, 2 was quite the production.  My pain was really elevated, so we knew I would need to be in the recliner for the trip or really not be physically well, so we loaded up aka the Clampitts.. (I'm Ellie, not gramma!)

........put all seats down in the van so the entire back was open, loaded up the recliner for me to recline in, the boys drove the Avalon, and off we went!  Yep - picture it.  Not safe, but comfortable and kept me functioning as best we could.  It works out great because I can see Andy perfectly in the rear view mirror (as opposed to laying down in the very back uncomfortable van seat and suffering for 8+ hours), and altnough I have to crawl in and out of the chair/van at each stop, it is SO worth it.  Wish I had some photos of the looks we get at the gas stations, though.  Oh my!!   lol

 Here are some holiday photos:

Grandma's 4 grandsons (2 from each of her daughters, ours are the older 2 )- from Left to Right:
Wyatt - 12,  Trey - 15 next week, Holt - 17, and Ryan - 20.

Wyatt and Trey in front of fired Cowboy locker - Nick Folk.
Attempted family photo when Craig (BIL) stopped by.  Dogs went crazy, it was a riot.  lol

My mom, Debbie. 

Sister Kelley with hubby Craig and crazy Wyatt.  lol  Remind me to make a point to get decent photos next visit!!  This was the only one I had with Craig and Kelley together.
Hubby with his folks, Jean and Joe.

BIL Jay (Andy's brother) with his rescue Boxer Sonny.  Sonny loved his new toy!

Ryan, age 20.  Many refer to him as "Little Jay".  lol

Holt, age 17.

Me, reading the amazing card from Andy and tearing up.  Best card ever in 23 years!!

Both sons actually purchased the same gifts for their parents.  Do they know them or what!

Go OU Sooners!!

My 3 wonderful guys!!

Sorry this is a little blurry.

Here are the 2 rugrats, being crazy again. 

Took me a little while to get my energy back, but better late than never, right?   Trips that long are reallyhard on me physically, but we make great memories.  In the end, it's worth it.    Thankfully, both our families now live in the Dallas area, and it makes it so much easier to see them in one visit. 

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!